VW’s EA189 engine – how it’s actually going to be fixed

Published: 26 November 2015

► VW announces fix-it solutions for EA189 engines
► New ‘flow transformer’ and software changes
► Work to be carried out from January 2016

Volkswagen has announced the technical changes to be made to the 1.6 and 2.0-litre EA189 diesel engines at the centre of the ongoing emissions scandal. A planned recall from January 2016 will see cars with 1.6-litre EA189 engines fitted with a new ‘flow transformer’ and a software update, and 2.0-litre variants with a software update alone.

The alterations are designed to bring the engines’ NOx emissions down to acceptable standards while, Volkswagen says, avoiding major side effects on fuel consumption and performance.

The changes have been ratified by the Federal Motor Transport Authority (known as the Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt, or KBA, the federal ministry of transport in Germany. They’re planned to be applied to all 11m vehicles worldwide affected by the emissions scandal, 1.2m of which are in the UK.

What exactly do the changes involve?

An aerodynamic mesh will be fitted to the intake system directly in front of the air mass sensor on the 1.6 engine, calming the air flow and improving the sensor’s accuracy. In addition there’s a software update, part of the function of which is to remove the infamous ‘defeat device’ capability. It had previously been suggested that new injectors would need to be fitted; that’s now not the case. VW says the work should take less than an hour to be carried out.

Meanwhile, the 2.0-litre engine is in for a software update only, which is expected to take around half an hour.

Volkswagen says customers will be offered ‘appropriate replacement mobility options’ free of charge while the work is being carried out. The programme is not being termed a recall, as it does not involve a safety concern, but is being operated in the same way. All customers involved are being written to, and whenever a car goes into a VW retailer, personnel will be able to check whether or not the changes have been made.

What about the 1.2-litre 3-cyl diesel that’s also affected?

Measures for that engine will be presented to the KBA for ratification by the end of November 2015. The 1.6 and 2.0 engines were treated as a more immediate priority as there are so many more of them on the road.

I’m a VW owner – how do I know if I’m affected?

Volkswagen has released an online checking tool. You can enter your car’s VIN number on VW’s website here to find out if it’s affected.

Cars embroiled in the scandal include the VW Golf Mk6, Passat Mk7 and Tiguan Mk1, along with various Audis including the A1, A3, A4, Q3, Q5 and TT.

For a detailed summary of the #dieselgate scandal in its entirety, with continual updates as they happen, click here.

By James Taylor

CAR's deputy features editor, automotive design graduate, Radical champ

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